When did the Hall of Fame become so mediocre? You may have noticed that I am not too happy with this most recent Hall of Fame vote. The players that get into the Hall should be about all-time greatness. “All-time”, meaning they are the greatest to have ever played the game. Jim Rice was a helluva ball player, but not one of the best.
The voting is way too political, we all know that. They are punishing the steroid era by voting players, like Rice, into the Hall. Which is is ludicrous to think that PEDs were not part of that (70s and 80s) era either, especially since it was running rampant in the NFL, the Olympic games and other sports at the time. The rumors about “greenies” in team clubhouse’s, has been around for decades. I refuse to believe that only the last 15 years if became an issue. No way, no how.
I keep harping on greatness, and there are guys who are in the Hall of Fame that don’t have great numbers. Those Dead-ball era ball players are not the measuring sticks. Their impact on the game was as the foundation of America’s past time. The guys we have to compare Jim Rice to are Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Roberto Clemente, Reggie Jackson, Al Kaline, Mel Ott, Frank Robinson, Ted Williams, Lou Brock, Stan Musial, Willie Stagell, Carl Yastremski, and even Dave Winfield. All of them were outfielders for the majority of their careers. Can you seriously put his name alongside those players? Not a chance. That’s not even mentioning the great center fielders.
Ken Rosenthal (whom has a vote as a member of BBWA) is great at reporting baseball. He should stick to just that. However, since he is Fox Sports main baseball correspondent, he has to justify to the masses why he selected Jim Rice this year. For starters, Rosenthal admittedly, hasn’t been consistent with his vote for Rice.
Oh, I flip-flopped myself on Rice over the years, voting for him the first time I had the ballot in 1997, then stopping, then voting for him again starting in 2005. I fretted that he was too much of a one-dimensional slugger, too much of a beneficiary of Fenway Park — entirely reasonable criticisms.
Either he is a Hall of Famer, or he isn’t. Don’t even get me started on the whole first ballot thing. Oh wait, he has a reasoning for this…
I know what you’re thinking: Voters should not be influenced by such thinking; a player is either a Hall of Famer or he is not. Well, it’s easier for someone who is not a voter to take that view; I know this to be true, because that is exactly how I felt until I gained 10-year membership in the BBWAA and qualified for the vote.
The Hall of Fame vote is a staggering responsibility; voters effectively determine the legacies of the game’s all-time greats. Out in the blogosphere, or even the real world, one’s opinion is just that — an opinion. But if I had been inclined to deny Rice, I am not sure that I would have followed through and become, potentially, the last naysayer.
So voters are allowing their vote to be determined by other voters?
Don’t get this wrong: I am not an advocate of “groupthink.” But we’re talking about human beings, both the voters and the players. If, entering a given election, a voter knew that more than 400 of his or her peers were likely to vote for a certain player, then he or she would need to feel awfully strongly about holding out. To me, it would be almost heartless, borderline cruel.
Ken, being that guy is not that big of a deal. The idiots are the voters who make the point to not allow someone in unanimously. Those are the guys that are being cruel and heartless. They just want to protect a stupid tradition. Does anyone really believe that Babe Ruth didn’t belong in the Hall of Fame on the first try. There is that whole first ballot thing again, I hate that.
Congrats, Jim Rice, you got into the Hall of Fame because there were some voters who felt bad for you, not because you were a great player.
Back to the “it’s easier for someone who is not a voter to take that view”. You are right, it is easier for us to see that, because we are not having to be concerned about player’s hating us for not voting for them, or getting into arguments with colleagues because we screwed their guy out of his chance to be in the Hall of Fame. The fans know greatness when they see it. Sure, some fans get blinded by homerism (like Yankee fans and Don Mattingly), but the majority of them understand what true greatness on the ball field is. Except for a few people, who prefer mediocrity representing the greatest game ever invented.
The one thing that people use at the biggest argument for Rice is that he dominated his era. So what? It was the worst era for baseball. Are you going to argue to me that the pitching in the 70s and early 80s was good? Don’t get me started on Nolan Ryan, he wasn’t that great. Just think Brett Favre playing baseball. You did have a couple studs out there in the National League. Rice never had to face them.
“Look at his stats!” I did. Not worth it. Nothing jumps off his stats page.
Rice doesn’t deserve his selection. The voters proved that by not voting him in the previous 15 years. You suddenly don’t become greater the longer you are out of the game. Appreciating what he did from afar doesn’t make him greater. All this is going to do is allow a plethora of good player’s to enter into what is suppose to be the most exclusive club in all of sports.